2013/2014 Budget vote speech by the Deputy Minister Dr Joe Phaahla at the National Assembly

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23 May 2013

Honourable Speaker and Deputy Speaker
Minister of Arts and Culture, Comrade Paul Mashatile, Ministers and Deputy Ministers here present 
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture, Honourable Babalwa Sunduza
Honourable Members of the Portfolio Committee
Honourable Members of Parliament
The Director General of the Department of Arts and Culture, Mr. Sibusiso Xaba
Chairpersons of our Boards and Councils
Art, culture and heritage practitioners
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Six days ago on 10 May 2013 we celebrated 19 years since President Nelson Mandela took the oath office as the first President of a democratic South Africa. This was the beginning of the Reconstructive leg our long walk to Freedom after centuries and decades of struggle against colonialism and apartheid. That journey took  us to the adoption of our constitution in March 1996 which has been hailed as one of the most progressive in the world. In the preamble to our constitution we declared , “We , the people of South Africa , recognize the injustices of our past, honour  those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land,
Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country, and Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.”
What a profound statement which encapsulates the aspirations of our new nation.

Over the last 19 years the ANC as the elected government of the people and as leader of society has worked with all our people to actualize the aspiration expressed in the preamble to our constitution. We have systematically removed from the statue books all the laws which sought to undermine the values, cultures and dignity of our people and replaced them with progressive policies and laws. Our fourth parliament since 2009 has been laying more bricks on the foundation laid by President Mandela in 1994.In order to take our Reconstruction and Transformation work to a higher level , we adopted the National Development Plan in 2012.

Honourable members, from our appointment to lead this Ministry and department at the end of 2010 we understood that this sector has three major roles to play in the Reconstruction of our nation:
a) We must lead in the work of building a new South African nation on the ruins of colonialism, racism and apartheid. We must be drivers in what President Mandela called “The RDP of the soul”, Nation Building and Social Cohesion are therefore our core-business.
b) Arts and Culture and the creative industry should be a major contributor to  economic growth and job creation.

c) Arts and Culture can be a potent instrument of creating relations with nations of the world enhancing both political and economical diplomacy.

The last point is very relevant during this year and this month as we are celebrating  fifty years since the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, now the African Union (AU)

We are greatful to the sister people in the continent , who through the work of the OAU , sub regional bodies and other multilateral organisations such as the Non-Aligned Movement , the Commonwealth and the United Nations always placed high on their agenda  support for the liberation struggle of the people of South Africa.

We today pay homage to the founders of the OAU, those pioneering and visionary leaders such as  Kwame Nkrumah , Julius Nyerere, Sekou Toure, Kenneth Kaunda  and Abdel Nasser to mention few. In honour of their pioneering work we will be hosting a month long exhibition of contemporary visual arts by different artists from the SADC region from 24 May -28 June 2013 at the Pretoria Art Museum under the theme “cultural brokerage: Africa Imagined.

Honourable members a lot has already been said about Mzansi Golden Economy. We wish to reassert that Arts, Culture and the creative Industries have been part and parcel of human economic activity and trade from time immemorial. It is today an undisputed fact that many centuries ago our forebears traded in various fine arts from across the oceans; nothing illustrates this better than the immaculate beads found at Mapungubwe and of course the Golden Rhino. How else would Diamonds and gold dominate world trade for centuries if it was not due to the role of fine arts .Other forms of Art such as paintings, crafts, still photos, music, film, drama, dance etc. have been known to be identified with various countries, unfortunately the exposure of various role players on the on the world stage often reflected the political and economic strength of their countries.
The Mzansi Golden Economy strategy is nothing else but our own endeavor to reclaim the place of the cultural industries as a contributor to the national economy and even as an exporter of services to other parts of the world.

Honourable members we are pleased to announce that we are making progress in initiatives such as:

  1. The Arts Bank: which is aimed at identifying and purchasing art from artists, including emerging artists. Such artwork will then be leased to National Departments and institutions for both decoration snd show-casing purposes.
  2. We are also making progress in establishing the “Sourcing Enterprise which will provide market access locally and internationally to art works and performances by artists from all over the country
  3. Support for major events in all provinces. Among the events we are supporting e.g  National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Standard Bank Joy of Jazz in Gauteng, Mapungubwe Arts Festival in Limpopo,, Buyele Khaya Pan African Music Festival in Eastern Cape, Macufe in Free State , Cape Town International  Jazz Festival , Mbokodo Awards, Mpumalanga Comes Alive and the SAMAS to mention a few.

These events are estimated to have created a total of 25000 job opportunities over the last 3 years.

  1. Public Art Development Programme .This includes murals, innovative public art installations, storytelling and Street Theatre. Notable among these has been the Cape Town based “ Infecting the City” initiative.

VISUAL ARTS

Last year, the Department hosted the Visual Arts Indaba to discuss recommendations to grow the sector.

These recommendations will be put into action this year through the appointment of the Visual Arts Task Team and the call for participation from the sector on issues such as Artist Rights and Resale Rights.

The department will once again this year strive to partner with visual arts organisations to train more visual arts practitioners in the areas of arts administration and management.

DESIGN

The Department has also identified the design industry as a strategic sector that can support the economic advancement of our people.

The design industry has the potential to create meaningful jobs. In this financial year we will focus our attention on policy formulation for the Sector with a view of creating a Design Strategy for the country.

Also in the pipeline is the creation of provincial Fashion hubs. A pilot Fashion hub in Kwazulu-Natal will be established by next year, with a plan of creating similar hubs in other provinces in the near future.

This year the Department in partnership with Design Indaba supported and gave an opportunity to 41 Emerging Creatives to participate at the International Design Indaba; where they were given a platform to show case their work.

We are hoping that in future these young entrepreneurs will be able to plough back what they achieved from the experience and be able to come back as fully fledged businesses people who will in turn create jobs for unskilled and semi-skilled individuals.

LIBRARIES

Honourable Members, we are pleased to announce that we continue to contribute towards improving literacy levels and knowledge development, creation and sharing through the building of Libraries in communities.

For the 2013/2015 MTEF we have been allocated by National Treasury an additional R1.1 billion towards the building of community libraries.

These funds are earmarked to address service delivery backlogs in the provision of community library and information services.
 
We are also pleased to announce that since the inception of the community library conditional grant in 2007, starting with an initial capital injection of R200 million, more than 900 persons have been employed, 41 new libraries have been built, and 244 existing buildings have been upgraded.

In the 2013/2014 financial year, we plan to build 16 new libraries and upgrade 40 existing libraries.

Furthermore this year we held a Library week in March, under the theme; “Educate yourself @ your library”. The impact of this work is intended to brand public libraries as places of knowledge and learning.

Informed by the successes of this work we have decided to launch the South African Library Week, which we will now be held annually.

On 28 February 2013, in collaboration with the US Embassy the National Library organized Black History Month Celebrations featuring the “I have a dream” speech by Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

In June last year the National Language Services signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tanzania Library Service Board in the fields of books, modern technology, workshops, preservation and conservation.

Also last year the National Library of South Africa signed a Memorandum of Understanding with National Library of Romania in the fields of photographic, paintings, print, digitization and events.

The National Library also signed an agreement with the National Library of Serbia, Belgrade in the fields of catalogues, collections, digitization and e-publications.

Honourable Members, we are pleased that there has been significant progress in promoting a culture of reading and writing.

 However we remain confident that going forward we will do better hence we are strengthening our partnerships with the Department of Basic Education, the Department of Higher Education and Institutions of higher learning, communities and the private sector to ensure that we do become a reading nation and subsequently improve our literacy levels.

HERITAGE

We continue to support the Historic Schools Project which includes, amongst others, the 160 years since the establishment of Adams College; The University of Fort Hare which will be celebrating 100 years in 2016.

We have also tasked the National Heritage Council to work on the Nkonkobe Heritage University Town Project in Grahamstown together with Amathole District Municipality.

A first public lecture on Early African Intellectuals to celebrate the legacy of DDT Jabavu will be held in September this year. This initiative is aimed at further strengthening the first book that the NHC published two years back on Early Modern African Intellectuals.

The South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) will be convening a National Indaba on Heritage as part of social cohesion and nation building.

This will assist the nation to engage in robust discussions around what is a South African heritage that needs to be conserved, preserved and valued as heritage.

As part of restoration of human dignity and preserving our history and heritage, we are renovating graves of those who are buried in the concentration camps.

South Africa has launched the South African Heritage Resources Information System (SAHRIS), the most innovative and revolutionary world class portal, which is a web-based system for the integrated management of our heritage resources.

A tool that is offered by SAHRA to Provincial and Local government, museums and all institutions at no cost., This will ensure that as a nation we know what we have and protect our heritage for future generation. The whole nation is invited to make use of this valuable resource.

NATIONAL ARCHIVES

Honourable Members, we continue to preserve our national archives.
 
Despite capacity challenges the available staff in the department continues to do their best to deliver the kind of service that our country requires.

We played an active role in the international arena when we registered our documentary heritage in the UNESCO memory of the world register.

These documents include, amongst others, the Bleek collection, the Voc collection, the Rivonia trial collection as well as DOCSA collection.

We are also delighted to announce that we have also submitted two nominations to the UNESCO memory of the world register. These are the CODESA Multiparty Negotiation Forum and MEDU collection.

We have given the go-ahead for the National Archives and Records Service of South Africa to embark on a capital works project to ensure the continued preservation of South Africa’s irreplaceable documentary heritage.

This financial year the Bureau of Heraldry will also have special focus on the promotion of the National Anthem in Institutions of Higher Learning.

This project will be launched in June during Youth Month.

The Anthem will be promoted through the selection of a variety of activities, including distribution of the National Anthem Toolkits.

The Bureau of Heraldry is marking 50 years of its existence. There are many highlights in its 50 years of existence including the design of the National Flag we all embrace today and the transformation of all national symbols including the symbols of parliament.

The National Archives will be hosting the 10th Annual National Oral History Conference from 8-11 October 2013 in the Northern Cape.

The conference is intended to promote the use of Oral History as a research methodology and publicise the National Archives’ drive of augmenting archival records, and at closing the gaps in the archival collections as a result of the Apartheid dispensation.

This year’s conference theme will focus on the 1913 Native Land Act as we are remembering its centenary this year. A number of activities are planned in partnership with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

NATIONAL DAYS

Honourable Members, Cabinet took a decision that all National Days must be coordinated and managed by our department.

Accompanying this was need to re-visit the way we, as South Africans celebrate our national days.

The glaring problem regarding this matter being that these days remain popular mainly among the African population.

This defeats the essence of celebrating these national days, which is promotion of social cohesion and bringing South Africans together.

In this regard the department is currently undertaking a process of reviewing the way we are celebrating our national days. Once that strategy is finalised it will be tabled to cabinet for consideration.

This year we have successfully hosted Freedom Day and Human Rights Day.

We will be hosting Youth Day in KwaZulu-Natal. The 18th of July is Nelson Mandela Day internationally as declared by the UN General Assembly and this year Tata Mandela will celebrate his 95th Birthday.

We will host this National Day in Umtata, Eastern Cape. The National Heritage Day, which falls on the 24th September, will also be held in Eastern Cape this year. The Day of Reconciliation will be celebrated with the Century of the Union Building on the 16th December this year in Pretoria.

OUR INTERNATIONAL WORK

South Africa successfully hosted the 5th BRICS Summit in Durban from 26 to 27 March 2013. 

The Department of Arts and Culture, partnered with the provincial and local authorities in Kwa-Zulu Natal to host the pre-summit build-up of cultural events.

We also contributed to a spectacular concert on the opening evening, showcasing the best of South African, Brazilian, Indian, Chinese and Russian culture.

BRICS countries are currently working on a BRICS draft agreement in the field of arts and culture, to cement our people to people ties and to elevate arts and culture to a vibrant aspect of our interaction and cooperation. 

 We also have bilateral cultural agreements with individual BRICS countries:

a) India

Relations between South Africa and India go a long way due to our shared history of struggle against  colonialism .We share  the contribution of that icon Mahatma Gandhi who cut his political teeth in South Africa and went on to use the experience towards the decolonisation of India. Today we share strong cultural ties with India

b)Similarly we have come along way with The People’s Republic of China , Russia and Brazil with whom we have either already signed Cultural Agreements or we are about to conclude such.

Our Cultural Diplomacy is alive and vibrant but we are convinced we can do more.

As we conclude let us reiterate the vision spelt out by the NDP in line with our constitution.
“In 2030 South Africans will be more conscious of the things they have in common than their differences. Their lived experiences will progressively undermine and cut across the divisions of race, gender, space and class. The nation will be more accepting of people’s multiple identities”

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